Show cause notice issued to Mackay HHS Board following damning obstetrics report

Published Friday, 30 September, 2022 at 01:52 PM

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has issued a show cause notice to the Mackay Hospital and Health Service (HHS) Board following the release of a damning report into its obstetrics and gynaecology unit.

The show cause notice asks HHS board members to say how they can effectively discharge their duties and obligations and whether any or all of the board members should be dismissed.

The board members have until next Friday to respond to this show cause notice.

Minister D’Ath has also appointed Dr Robert Herkes as a special clinical advisor to the HHS board to oversee clinical governance improvements.

“The report is damning in its identification of failings at multiple levels within Mackay HHS and more particularly the Mackay Base Hospital,” the Minister said.

“The Investigation team found multiple examples of substandard clinical care, poor clinical incident monitoring, poor management of safety and quality, complications and clinical deterioration and poor human resource management.

“I want to acknowledge the more than 170 women who came forward, with many telling their deeply personal and sometimes deeply traumatic experiences.

“To each and every one of these women, whether they were part of the investigation or the consumer case management pathway, I want to say thank you for your bravery and courage.

“You have shone a light on failings that have been hidden for far too long.

“I also want to acknowledge the tireless work of patient advocates, including Beryl Crosby.”

Minister D’Ath said the investigation report contains 122 recommendations, with 47 already implemented and with the remainder supported either in full or in principle. 

“The recommendations will be implemented within 12 months, to ensure actions are taken as a matter of urgency,” she said.

“I will be expecting monthly updates on the progress of these recommendations.”

Minister D’Ath said the government would implement three key actions aimed at strengthening safety and quality processes.

“These will be driven by Clinical Excellence Queensland (CEQ), the department’s division responsible for improving how we deliver healthcare,” she said.

The three key actions are:

  • establishing a centralised reporting process by which hospital staff across the state can escalate quality and safety concerns they believe have not been addressed at a local level in a timely or proper way
  • enabling CEQ to provide additional governance support to Hospital and Health Services, with a focus on strengthening their clinical quality and safety frameworks
  • strengthening informed consent processes to the improve the expectations of patients undergoing procedures.

To read the report, visit

Media contact: Martin Philip 0407 675 008